If ever there was an art form us gays own (besides, y’know, all of them) its musical theater. That’s why we’re so incensed that the Malaysian government has sponsored a musical aimed at teaching young people about the dangers of being LGBT.
Asmara Songsang (or, Abnormal Desire) follows the lives of three queer gang members—we know they’re gay because they take drugs, throw loud parties and engage in casual sex. The trio’s Muslim neighbors try to bring the perverts back into the fold, but a convenient lighting storm slays those who refuse to change their evil ways. After a lecture on the hideous wrongs of not being heterosexual, the entire cast comes out on stage with Malaysian flags and sings a song dedicated to national unity.
Writer-director Rahman Adam, 73, says the goal of Abnormal Desire is to alert youngsters and their parents as to “the bad things about LGBT.”
“Nowadays in Malaysia you read so many things in newspaper articles or write-ups about LGBT… because [LGBT] are going into schools and influencing the children,” he said. “Children need to recognize that men are for women, and women are for men. They are all out to have homosexual and lesbian sex, and although right now it is not so serious [in Malaysia], we need to act, to do something, to say something, to say that this is bad and not to follow it.”
Malay blogger Alia Ali calls Asmara Songsang “all-out propaganda” that’s not just bigoted, it’s poorly executed:
Even if it wasn’t propagandistic, there were too many troubling issues: The part that gets to me the most is that according to the playwright, all non-heterosexuals seem to belong to a club. Membership is declared by choosing whether they want to be an L, G, B or T, then a partner (or “baby LGBT” as they call it) for them is found. Any sort of contact with the heteronormative world is cut off — in fact, they’ll fight tooth and nail to keep recruits in their clutches and away from their family. And since they’re immoral and not “normal”, they must of course drink heavily, take drugs, and make out right in public. They actively recruit members to join their side, turning straight people gay, and clearly don’t even live in reality.
The Guardian reports that the musical features some of the country’s biggest TV stars and has played the national theater in Kuala Lumpur, in addition to public schools and universities across the largely Islamic country.
We’re guessing it won’t be heading to Broadway.